COLUMBIA, SC — Trailing Dorman by two points at the end of the third quarter in the Class 4A girls state championship game, the Dutch Fork Silver Foxes did not sweat.
Instead of getting flustered, Dutch Fork maintained its composure and rode its patient offense and opportunistic defense to a second consecutive title, defeating the Cavaliers 46-43 to finish the season 29-0.
“I was trying to get them to get back their focus, not let (Dorman) control the momentum,” coach Faye Norris said.
The Silver Foxes, who led by as many as nine points in the first half, used five minutes of the fourth period to work their way back into the lead. Then with 13 seconds to play, Dorman’s Logan Hollis knocked in a layup to tie the game.
Senior guard Rose Robinson secured the game-winning points for Dutch Fork, going 4-of-4 at the free throw line in the final 10 seconds.
“It was a great feeling, to be able to come through for my team,” said Robinson, who had not scored until then. “I wasn’t nervous. Every time the ball left my hands, I knew it was going in. I just believed in my teammates, the whole time. I knew we were going to win.”
Silver Foxes junior Morgan Williams led the game with 18 points, while McDonald’s All-American Alaina Coates posted 10 points and 17 rebounds despite being double-teamed for much of the second half.
“She was a huge person for us in the middle. She was really scrappy for us. She played awesome,” Norris said of Williams.
Williams and Coates attributed the Silver Foxes’ rally to Dutch Fork’s teamwork.
In the third quarter, the Cavaliers outscored a seemingly worn down Dutch Fork squad 19-11, and all but neutralized Coates.
“My teammates knew they were going to double on me,” said Coates, who also had three assists and five steals. “My teammates have my back, and I have theirs.”
Dorman’s half-court pressure briefly stalled the Silver Foxes at the game’s start, but Dutch Fork got rolling after Ky’Aire Daniels nabbed a steal at midcourt and parlayed it into a Coates layup. Dutch Fork got eight points off Dorman turnovers in the first half and led 25-19 at the break.
Led by Kenya Olley’s post play, Dorman knotted the score at 31 with 3:31 left in third period. Olley completed a three-point play at the free throw line to put the Cavaliers up two points with a minute left.
Though Norris’ team had not focused on its perfect record, she said it felt great to have five seniors finish undefeated. Those seniors accounted for 18 points, nine steals and eight assists.
“It feels great,” she said. “I’m glad that the seniors were able to complete their season this way.”
DF: Morgan Williams 18, Alaina Coates 10, Daniels 2, Robinson 4, Shull 8, Green 2, Wigfall 2. D: Khaila Webb 11, Hollis 3, Kenya Olley 16, Jones 9, Rogers 4.